Drink-drive figures spark calls for cut in blood-alcohol limit

Drink-drive figures spark calls for cut in blood-alcohol limit
Official figures have revealed that the number of fatalities occurring on the roads as a result of drink-driving has remained unchanged since 2010.

According to data released by the Department for Transport, around 240 people were killed in incidents related to drink-driving across the UK in 2014, the same as in 2010.

Following the release of the statistics, the RAC has called for immediate action to be taken to stamp out the problem.

“We need as a society to break through this plateau and once again consistently reduce needless, alcohol-related road deaths in the coming years,” road safety spokesman Pete Williams said.

“That means both renewed efforts from law enforcement and changes in attitudes from individual motorists who are prepared to break the law in this way, as well as their families and friends who may be able to prevent them getting behind the wheel.”

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Despite the persistently high fatality levels, the report also found that the number of seriously injured drink-driving casualties decreased by 3% from from 1,100 in 2013 to 1,070 a year later.

At the same time, the total number of drink-drive accidents of all severities fell by 1% to 5,620.

Yet provisional estimates for 2015 already show that there were between 200 and 290 deaths in drink-drive accidents last year.

Campaigners including the RAC are urging the Government to further consider bringing the drink-drive limit for England and Wales in line with that of Scotland.

In England and Wales, the limit is currently set at 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood – a ratio deemed high by international standards.

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However, in 2014 Scotland voted to lower the limit to 50mg, with drink-drive offences falling by 12.5% in the first nine months after the change.

A bill proposing the limit in England and Wales be reduced to the same amount expired before it could be carried through all stages of parliament.

Despite this, public support for such a measure remains high, with a poll from campaign group the Alcohol Health Alliance UK showing that 77% of people would welcome a lower limit.

The RAC’s Pete Williams said: “We are concerned that the acknowledged reduction in the number of roads policing officers in England and Wales may have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of drink-drive law enforcement.

“Despite this, further consideration should also be given to adopting the new reduced Scottish legal alcohol limit for driving in the rest of the UK.

“There is also no question that we would benefit as a society from a high-profile anti-drink-drive public awareness campaign, the likes of which have proved successful in the past in helping to change this kind of behaviour on a long-term basis.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.